June 29, 2012My Mom got one of those emails that you're supposed to pass along to everyone you know. It was about how Independence day is coming up and that we should all pray for all our fallen soldiers. She forwarded it on to her friends and family, but with this response attached:
"Prayer shmayer! It won’t do diddley except make people feel good about themselves. The only way to keep these young men and women from dying is not to use war to solve all our international problems. Our elected officials use our soldiers like chess pieces. The last administration hurled us into a pointless and costly war in Iraq. That war and the war already being waged in Afghanistan were purposely not accounted for in the nation’s budget and eventually that recklessly spent money shot our deficit way up, but more importantly, led to the deaths of many thousands of Americans and more than 100,000 cruelly wounded. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans also paid a steep price in death and grievous wounds.
Instead of praying, how about pressuring our government to take proper care of our wounded soldiers. Thousands have been kept waiting months, even years, for entrance into a medical program. There is a record high incidence of suicide among our troops, both in the field and after they return home. Speak out for our soldiers. Loudly.
Let’s start using our brains to keep ourselves out of the wholesale killing and torture business. We have many non-lethal powers that we have not used enough, like face to face talks, humanitarian aid used wisely, boycotts, and a variety of sanctions. We’re an intelligent country, can’t we be a leader in the cessation of these bloody wars? We can idolize and praise our armies, but wouldn’t it be better to work for a world where these men and women can stay at home with their families, only going to war when there is no other option? It can be done but it must be done quickly. President Eisenhower’s warning about the increasing power and sway of the military industrial complex has not been heeded. We have ignored that warning at our own peril. The war business may be the most influential business in the US (and many other countries I’m sure). Those entities make billions and billions of dollars and do not want to give up that stupendous income. Can we prevail over them? Will our citizens recognize the danger of an oligarchy and wake up to protest strongly enough to change back to a true democracy? The 'Citizens United" Supreme Court decision a year or so ago may be one of the final nails in the coffin of democracy.
So, pray for our soldiers - but work to change the reason why they are putting their lives on the line. Is it for us, personally, or for the gigantic war machine we have been feeding for the past fifty-plus years? I fear that our military is not fighting and dying to protect us but to gain influence, power and money (oil,anyone?) for the few powerful entities that are running our country from behind the curtain.